Chef John's Salt Roasted Chicken Recipe -
Chef John's Salt Roasted Chicken Recipe
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Chef John's Salt Roasted Chicken
See how to make earth’s easiest (and possibly tastiest) roasted chicken. See more
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Chef John's Salt Roasted Chicken

Recipe by  

"This is one of those rare recipes where the name is the same as the ingredient list. You're going to be so shocked at how flavorful, juicy, and amazing this roast chicken comes out."

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Ingredients Edit and Save

Original recipe makes 4 servings Change Servings
  • PREP

    15 mins
  • COOK

    55 mins

    1 hr 15 mins


  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C).
  2. Dry the outside of chicken with paper towels. Tuck the wing tips underneath the chicken and place into a large oven-safe skillet. Use scissors to snip off the tail, if desired.
  3. Generously sprinkle kosher salt into the cavity and over the back and sides of chicken. Tie chicken legs together with kitchen twine. Sprinkle salt generously over the breasts, coating them thoroughly. Wipe excess salt out of skillet with paper towels.
  4. Bake chicken in the preheated oven until an instant-read meat thermometer inserted into a thigh, not touching bone, reads 160 degrees C (70 degrees C), 50 to 60 minutes. Remove from skillet to a serving platter and let rest 5 to 10 minutes.
  5. Blot about 90 percent of the chicken fat from the skillet with a paper towel held with tongs, leaving the browned bits of food in the skillet. Place skillet over medium-high heat and add thyme leaves. Cook and stir until thyme is wilted, 1 to 2 minutes. Pour lemon juice, chicken broth, and water into skillet, stirring until the browned bits dissolve and the sauce has reduced by about half, 1 to 2 minutes.
  6. Reduce heat to low, add cold butter, and stir until butter has begun to melt. Add any accumulated juices from the chicken to sauce and continue to stir until butter is incorporated and sauce is slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Remove from heat and season with salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper to taste. Spoon sauce over chicken to serve.
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  • Cook's Note:
  • I'm totally guessing at measurements here, since you kind of just splash stuff in. Use the force.

Reviews More Reviews

Most Helpful Positive Review
Jun 08, 2014

To debbiemaltais, if you don't make the recipe as stated (with COARSE KOSHER SALT, not sea salt which is much, much stronger!) don't give it a mediocre rating, that is not fair to the recipe, even if you plan to come back later and change it. And to user mk -- Who are you, the salt police? Don't low rate a recipe just because it doesn't meet your idea of what is 'healthy'. The rest of us can read, same as you, and decide for ourselves. And seriously, the nutritional information is based on the total amount of salt used in the recipe, not allowing for the amount you are going to wipe out of the pan before roasting, so you don't eat that. And yes, for those who thought this was too 'salty', be aware that coarsely ground kosher salt will give good results, regular "table" salt, finely ground kosher salt, or sea salt will make the chicken inedible if used as a substitute. All that said, this is a great and simple recipe with consistently good results. Do be SURE to wipe out the pan well, even unto lifting out the chicken to be sure you get what was under it, before putting it in the pan. I didn't season mine in the pan the second time I made it, I seasoned it on a plate and THEN put it in the pan -- extra plate to was, I realize, but you have to wash the dishes anyway!

Most Helpful Critical Review
Mar 17, 2014

well, I really mucked this recipe...I used sea salt instead of Kosher--didn't think it would make that much of a difference, but it did. The chicken came out greasy and way to salty tasting, and the jus is inedible. Sorry Chef-will try again using kosher next time! I don't think it is proper to give this recipe a rating until I follow it exactly so I will give it a 3 for now.

Nov 02, 2013

My husband thought it was excellent. He said: ..."perhaps the best chicken I ever had!". I had followed your recipe without any change. Thank you Chef John.

Jun 05, 2014

the chicken came out fantastic. People, please don't rate the recipes based on using the wrong ingredients.

Jul 01, 2014

Changed nothing about the ingredients, just tweaked the method of cooking (I have roasted many a fowl in my career). I preheated my cast iron skillet so that when i laid the chicken in it, the bottom/thighs got a nice sear (keeps the dark meat cooking at same rate as white). Then, after about 30 minutes on the high heat, i shut the oven all the way off and let the chicken sit in the cooling oven for another 20 minutes. This lets it continue to cook, but will taper off and seal the juices in. Just don't open the door! This chicken turned out so beautiful golden brown, crispy outside, super moist and tender inside. Thank you chef, for the courage to use so much salt! :))

Dec 07, 2013

My family has always loved roast chicken, so I have made it for years. This recipe is the best I have ever made. The chicken was very juicy, and so tender. I even made the sauce, and could not believe how good it was and how incredibly simple it was to make. I was out of lemons so I substituted white wine vinegar and it was terrific! Chef John, another winner. Thanks for the video, it helps.

Jan 07, 2014

the chicken was magnificent. but for some reason, my sauce turned out way too salty. I'm wondering if I didn't blot out enough oil from the pan. will try again.

Mar 04, 2014

We really enjoyed this chicken! I love making whole chickens and do so at least twice a month. This recipe was a nice change up from my usual rosemary and garlic roasted bird. It did turn out rather salty, and I used coarse ground kosher salt - but it wasn't inedible salty. (and of course, I expected it to be salty!) I prepared this in my infrared oven which I believe helped the skin to crisp very nicely. The whole thing was a beautiful, uniform golden color. My husband, teenage daughter and I loved the sauce, but my young children didn't care for the lemon flavor of it, so next time I will try making it with white wine in place of the lemon juice. This recipe is a keeper that I will make again and again.


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  • Calories
  • 554 kcal
  • 28%
  • Carbohydrates
  • 1.2 g
  • < 1%
  • Cholesterol
  • 185 mg
  • 62%
  • Fat
  • 35.7 g
  • 55%
  • Fiber
  • 0.1 g
  • < 1%
  • Protein
  • 53.7 g
  • 107%
  • Sodium
  • 4701 mg
  • 188%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

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